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Governance lessons in complex ownership structures

The board of vitamins company Blackmores has been in the headlines recently, with the election of directors at the recent AGM in the spotlight.

We unpack the key lessons emerging form this on governance and ownership and demystify the complexities of board and owner conflict at a publicly listed entity

Governance and ownership lessons for SMBs and NFPs

  • Remember, you’re stewards with a duty to act in good faith in the best interests of the company as a whole. Sometimes this puts you in conflict with a shareholder.
  • Do a stock-take of the shareholder’s power. If the shareholder has enough loyal followers to rule the roost, accept their values and work diligently to pursue the purpose or don’t take the assignment. Influencers like this can turn board members into workers. It is important for you not to have an inflated view of your position.
  • Your job is to protect the other stakeholders; but above else, try and avoid wars in the first place.
  • Build partnerships with your stakeholders, based on these four principles:
    • Effective, timely, relevant, honest, communication.
    • Consistency of action, and words,
    • Shared values (principles that steer your life), that guide your actions.
    • A shared purpose, clear roles and clarity around expected outcomes. (Shared objective).
  • Develop negotiation and calming techniques as part of your communications strategy.
  • Identify who to listen to, who to calm down, and who to negotiate with.

Further information

BoardPro is a board software company on a mission to make the fundamentals of governance available to everyone.

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